I preached at a congregation this morning.  Two services.  In the service there was time to share joys and concerns.  In the first service one of the members asked for prayers for a family with three young children whose father had committed suicide.  In the second service, a young person asked for prayers for the family of one of her classmates who had committed suicide.

I listened with an aching heart. I had read of children who were being bullied via the internet. I was struck by the life that people live and how little we know about the deep struggles of their souls. And I am aware of how often we are critical of others without being aware of what they are going through.

There are many joys for people to share in life, and we give thanks for those. But, there are many kids (young children and adults whose child cries out for love and attention) who are troubled and struggle with a sense of self worth. There are many whose pain seems overwhelming.  We never know.  

So, because we don't know, opt for kindness.  When you look into the eyes of any human who is priviledged to share life with you, think "be kind." Let your first impulse be to "be kind." 

My guess is that most of the time that act of kindness will touch the chid's heart much more deeply than a judgment or a criticism. Know that pain hides behind masks of bravado and charm. Even if you don't know what the pain is, if your first impulse is to "be kind" you can't go wrong.